Friday, May 4, 2007

Scene Gems: Excellent Introductions Setup 'L.A. Confidential'



Curtis Hanson's L.A. Confidential (1997) is a gritty period noir, a great drama with multiple storylines and characters that weave a cohesive tapestry of corruption, loyalty and murder. Everything works in this film and it was my favorite of that year. Titanic won all the box office and Best Picture, but this movie has all of my respect.

This clip demonstrates how a 'hook' can be completely character-driven. The three main characters are introduced in their own scene, along with a couple of important supporting types. I have never seen a film define roles this fast and effectively. It's a credit to the script (by Hanson and Brian Helgeland) and superb performances by Kevin Spacey and then Australian unknowns Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce.

I'm a big fan of film noir, and this is the best example of it in recent years. These scenes set such a firm and powerful tone that carry he viewer through the entire movie. Where many films will drop the ball after the first or second act, this one goes and goes and goes. Adapted from James Ellroy's novel (he called it "unadaptable"), L.A. Confidential has it all, and I highly recommend it.

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